Monday, June 30, 2014

Addiction and Going Back to Kindergarten

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OK, I admit it. I'm addicted. I've lost count of how many of these little inros I've made. But I'm still enjoying them so why not continue on.

But believe it or not, I do have other interests. Today I visited Paper Trail Art Center where the owner gave me a tour of their facility. It's all about the paper arts, which I love. It's a great place and a great resource, especially for book artists in the general Atlanta area. They have a book shear! Something that will cut through my bookboard without killing my hands! The only problem is that they are a loooooonnnnnnggg way from where I live. The Atlanta metro area is huge and I'm on one side, the west side, and they are on the other side, the east side. But they have an "Adult Kindergarten" on Friday evenings where you can come and just play and I'm going to try to attend a few of those. I used to make a lot of books and just recently have gotten back into making star books and going back to kindergarten sounds like fun!
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Joy Journal: Being inside, eating jerk chicken, while it poured down rain.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Obsession

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It seems I've become obsessed wih making polymer inros. What are polymer inro? They are little boxes that open that you wear as a necklace. They are derived from the ancient Japanese inro which are far more complicated. I learned how to make them from the late Gwen Gibson, a polymer clay legend, many years ago and went on a run of making them. But I hadn't made one in a long, long time. I still wear the original ones I made and several times I had been asked by guild members to teach a class in how to make them. I finally agreed and thought, well, I better brush up on my technique to be sure I remember how before I try to teach someone else how to make one. After making the first one, I was completely hooked. And now I can't stop. I have plenty of samples, the workshop is filled up so I don't need to advertise - and I keep right on making more inros. I've sold four of them already (for April delivery) but I think I'm going to have to a find a bigger market or else quit making them. And I can't seem to quit!!

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Joy Journal: Plenty of time to play with my polymer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Classy Situation

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I'm busy getting ready to teach a workshop for my local polymer clay guild - in April! The workshop is on making inros, little pendants that are based on the ancient Chinese inro box. From the way I'm preparing you would think the workshop is tomorrow. But that's just me. I like to be prepared well in advance, I make lists of things, I buy the supplies I need now, not in April. And then when the day finally comes, I still feel like I'm not ready! But I really enjoy the workshop itself. I love the teaching and interacting. And I get a lot of compliments so I must be fairly good at it.

And I've also been asked to teach a bookmaking class at Creative Journey Studios, but that won't be until either July or September. Not sure which yet so both dates are reserved on my calendar. Now this class I am very confident about. The class isn't hard and the results are something really unique - a star book. And there is a lot preparation involved in this class, but I've taught it before so I'm confident about it.

Heading up to frozen Tennessee Monday, could sure use a break in this COLD weather.

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Joy Journal: Spicy Hoppin' John

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Almost Frozen

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I have to look really hard to find something beautiful to photograph in the winter. Browns and greys just don't appeal to me. But I think I managed to find something for this photograph. This was at the edge of a wooded area near my house and I'm pretty sure it's a hydrangea bloom. But it reminds me of an old sepia-toned photograph.

Jo and I went to a free art workshop/presentation at Sam Flax in Atlanta yesterday presented by Golden paints. The presentation was ok, and they gave us a free package of assorted Golden acrylic paints, but I thought I would die before it was over!! Yesterday the outside temp never got above freezing. And the temp inside Sam Flax was pretty close to that, too!! Their heating system was broken and the blowers were stuck in the "on" position. So it was blowing cold air directy on us. I've never wished more for a hat and gloves - I had the coat and definitely had it on and buttoned up. Jo was comfortable!! Everyone else was bundled up like Eskimos in Alaska. We decided to immediately go to Starbucks and get something warm in my body!! I need to check the package of paints I got and see if they have thawed out yet!!

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Joy Journal: Starbucks Vanilla Latte, definitely!!

Friday, January 03, 2014

New Year's Cup of Words

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As I was thinking of my word for the year (Energy) I was searching for words that might work for me. Ali Edwards always has a word of the year project on her blog so I copied all of the words that her readers were using and I created a word cloud out of them. Using Tagxedo I was able to make the words into a coffee cup shape which I felt was appropriate because I do a lot of my thinking over a cup of coffee. There are some really good words in this list and many of them would have worked for me. But "energy" is still the word I need, so I'm sticking with it.

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Joy Journal: Saint Gene's Birthday Dinner

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Energy

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My backyard on this gloomy, grey day.

Winter is so NOT my favorite time of year. Grey, gloomy, often rainy. Just generally depressing. And let's not forget cold. I'm not a big fan of cold either. I do think I have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Just a touch, not enough to cause me to dip into depression but enough that I'm aware of it. And today is one of those rainy, gloomy, grey days. Fortunately, it's not that cold. But it's not the best way to start the new year.

And speaking of the new year, I've decided that my word this year is ENERGY. I want to infuse a little more (and sometimes a lot more) energy into my life. I've gotten lazy. Some of it has to do with the knee issues I've been having (and continue to have!) but most of it is just pure laziness. It's become much too easy to put off doing things, even things I really enjoy doing. So this year I'm going to work on upping my energy level. I'm starting tomorrow. (JOKE!) I started yesterday and am going to continue all year. But I'm still going to sleep late. That's a retirement luxury I refuse to give up.

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Joy Journal: Home made hot chocolate. Divine!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jo's Christmas Present

Jo's Christmas Present
"Bittersweet Beauty"
8" x 10" ink and watercolor on 140lb Arches

Shhhhhh! It's a secret. Jo hasn't seen her Christmas present yet. But since she doesn't read my blog (I don't think she even knows I have it) or any other blog for that matter, I'm pretty sure the secret will be safe from her. Jo is my dear friend with whom I spend most of my Wednesdays. We get together every week to paint in her studio. This year I wanted to give her something a little special. And what is so special about this painting? Well, I become very attached to my paintings and don't want to part with them. The only one that I've ever let go was a Christmas present for my brother and sister-in-law, very special people to me. This will be only the second one. Jo is getting the original, not a print. This one is a little different than my usual style and it is breaking my heart to let it go!! But if there is anyone who will love it like I do, it will be Jo since she is also an artist. I loved painting this. I could just let myself go with color and since reds, yellows, oranges and golds always make me happy, I was a happy girl playing with this. And, of course, I have scanned it in so I can make myself a print anytime I want!!
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Joy Journal: Beautiful true color from my new printer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Creating is Messy Business

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Creating isn't a neat and tidy process, at least not for me anyway. And I have to confess, these pictures were taken AFTER I had cleaned up a little bit!!! But I had to take the pictures. Those bright blue pieces of paper just sing to me. I love them!!

Saint Gene and I went on our first cruise last May on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. And we loved pretty much every minute of it. We splurged and got a junior suite and I'm SO GLAD we did!! It was fabulous to be able to sit out on the balcony and watch the ocean go by. The clouds were particularly impressive one day and I took a lot of pictures of the incredibly blue sky with the white clouds in their diferent formations. I took lots and lots and lots of pictures on this cruise and they have been sitting on their little DVD just waiting for me to do something with them. So now I am. I'm making a star book to memorialize our cruise and using some the many, many pictures I took. And I'm using the sky photos as backgrounds. Saint Gene and I both marveled at the beauty of the changing colors of the sea and the brilliance of the sky away from land. And when I saw those beautiful blue papers I knew immediately I had to use them to make a book.

I had forgotten in all my painting absorption how much I enjoy working with paper. My little Caribbean Blue Star Book is really a labor of love. I'm thoroughly enjoying myself.

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Joy Journal: A warm bed on a cold morning.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Life Interferes Sometimes!

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Have you ever noticed how life has a way of interferring with the plans we make? Plan for a picnic and it rains, right? But I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not. If life were all that predictable it would get kinda' boring. And while I'm not an adrenalin junky in any sense of the word, the situations we face that stop us in our tracks also make us grateful for those days that slide smoothly along.

So what have I been doing? My brother was seriously ill and that took up two full months of the summer. He's doing very well now so it was definitely worth it. Our polymer clay guild had a retreat that I was responsible for and it turned out fabulous. So all my hard word there payed off. I entered one of my paintings in an art show and was a "featured artist" in their advertising. Didn't win an award but that's ok - my painting is hanging in their exhibit right now and other people are getting to see it. You should be able to easily tell which one is mine in the photo above {grin}. Saint Gene had extremely risky surgery on an 85% blocked carotid artery. The surgery was very successful and he's doing great. A big relief. Next up is arthroscopic surgery on my left knee. I'm 'kinda, 'sorta looking forward to the surgery (though not the recovery process) so that I can get full use of the knee again. I miss being able to walk around for an hour in my favorite craft store!! The knee also kept me from getting out with my camera and capturing the fall color. But overall life is good. And I'm grateful for that!!!


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Joy Journal: The roast in the crockpot smells wonderful!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Already?

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It's hard to believe I'm already seeing Fall leaves in the trees. I've been spending so much time indoors lately and it really felt good to be able to be outside today as much as I wanted. My brother is in the hospital and we're staying with him so that means lots of time indoors in a tiny little ICU room. Today was my "day off" so I took full advantage of it. The beautiful red leaf above was seen on my way in to a fun lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, followed by some time at Sam's Club, JoAnn's Arts & Crafts and Kohl's. It was tax-free weekend here in the Atlanta area so there were lots and lots and lots of people in Sam's and Kohl's. Now I'm going to sit in front of the tv and catch up on my TIVO'd Longmire and Major Crimes and enjoy being in my recliner instead of a poorly cushioned, metal ICU room chair.

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Joy Journal: Sleeping late

Thursday, August 08, 2013

48 Years Ago Today

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Forty-eight years ago today at approximately this time (12:50 PM), I was a nervous wreck. Putting on the beautiful dress that my mother handmade for me, putting on my makeup, trying to make everything perfect. My brother would walk me down the aisle, my father would perform the ceremony and a handsome young Airman First Class would be waiting for me at the altar. My two wonderful cousins, Roxie and Libby would precede me down the aisle as my junior bridesmaid and flower girl (their mother did the reception for me). And Saint Gene and I would start on the 48 year journey together that brought us to this day. And the love story continues.

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Joy Journal:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Classy

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On March 17 & 18 I took a polymer clay workshop with Dan Cormier. Dan and his partner Tracy were in Atlanta in connection with Synergy3, a conference sponsored by the IPCA and I took workshops from both of them. Tracy's was a non-project workshop but Dan's included making a finished bead. As is usually the case with me, I didn't get completely finished during the workshop but I managed to finish it at home. I'm very happy with the way it turned out and plan to expand on what I learned as I continue working with the technique.
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Joy Journal: Ebony

My Friday Thoughts

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1. I've been retired for almost two years and Fridays still feel special.
2. If the weather would settle down I would be planting my garden.
3. Bright yellow and white daffodils will always make me smile.
4. A warm bed on a cold morning is a wonderful thing.
5. Who knew painting keys could make me happy.

This weekend will bring trips to Wal-Mart and Ross, presenting a polymer clay demo and lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings with a $5 off coupon.  Let's "Git 'er done!"

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Joy Journal: Oatmeal - I love it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Plain and Simple

Old Keys
"Old Keys" 9"x12" watercolor on Arches 140 lb. watercolor paper

After the less-than-succesful watercolor class I recently attended, I needed to do a painting that would bring me some happiness. And this painting did it. It is really quite simple, no background, no shadows, nothing but the keys. But it's colorful and it makes me happy so I consider it a very successful painting. While cleaning out my mother's house to get it ready for the estate sale, I came across this ring of keys and also another, larger ring of keys (which I intend to paint some day). I have no idea if these keys had any special meaning to her or if they were just old keys that she liked. Having a fondness for old keys myself I can easily understand her having them for that reason.

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Joy Journal: A big compliment from my polymer workshop instructor.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Confidence is Fragile

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I took a beginning watercolor class this past weekend. Big mistake. I left the class feeling defeated and unhappy. I lost all confidence in my ability to paint. After the instructor called me "Little Miss Detail" for the third time I pretty much gave up and tuned out. Don't get me wrong, the instructor was a nice person, he didn't single me out for abuse or anything like that. But his teaching style was absolutely wrong for me. He wasn't intentionally trying to be mean, he was just trying to get me to loosen up my way of painting a little. And I had been trying. But the result he got from his remarks was the exact opposite of what he intended. I froze. For a span of time my brain refused to order my hand to put any paint on the paper. I did finally somewhat finish the painting but there was no joy in it, no sense of accomplishment. And consequently the painting is quite ugly, looks like something I would have done in third grade. The class was two days and I almost didn't go for the second day but decided that maybe the second day would be better. It wasn't. I guess the instructor realized he and I were not really "simpatico" and he pretty much ignored me the second day, which worked out much better for me. I didn't really like his demo paintings and he was dishing out "facts" which I disagreed with (to myself) so I just sat quietly and played with my ugly painting. Which remained ugly. But the experience left me in a bad place emotionally. I struggle enough with confidence in my abilities without help from others. Yesterday I couldn't make myself do anything creative, the desire just wasn't there. As a matter of fact, I pretty much sat around and moped all day. But this morning I decided to kick myself in the rear and "reboot." I went back and looked at the paintings I had already done. I liked them. So I've started a new, "my style" painting and hope to put paint to paper this afternoon. This new painting is also a new subject for me. A boat. But as is my style, it's an old delapidated boat. Showing some detail. Should be fun.

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Joy Journal: A little warm cuddly dog.